Archive | Hinky History

Why the 30 Years War lasted so long

General on the Battlefield

Christian Sell – General on the Battlefield – ca. 1648

It wasn’t just because all the players had such deeply held religious beliefs. It was also because they had a virtual parity in robots and x-wing fighters. Just a little tip of balance, and it would have been over in weeks.

Alltop tips the balance towards funny. Excellent photoshoppery by David Blackwell.

Spot the Newton!

newtonHello and welcome to today’s edition of Spot the Newton, where you pick out the UNtrue facts about Sir Isaac Newton:

  • was unquestioningly one of the most important scientists ever
  • died a virgin
  • had a passion for alchemy above all else
  • once poked a needle in his eye to test an optical theory
  • used his roommate’s towel (for who knows what purpose)
  • invented a bed-wetting machine for pranking his fellow students
  • punched his sister
  • developed the calculus (Gottfried Leibniz also did this)
  • had a crossbow, and lied about it to his grandmother
  • lived for one year on a diet of apples
  • was a religious nutjob who learned Hebrew so he could discover the “secret” meaning of the Bible
  • threatened to burn down his mother and step-father’s house
  • beat the shit out of Arthur Storer
  • needed to relax a bit.

Answers accepted in the comments, or via the FB page.

Alltop has a passion for the alchemy of humor. Sources: io9, Facts/Legends, but no cheating. Image by Stavros Damos.

Why Canadians celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday

photo of queen victoriaHere in Canada we celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday, and it is known as Victoria Day.

Why? She has been dead for more than 110 years, and our current Queen has now been reigning almost as long as Vicky did. I mean, Canada barely has anything to do with the monarchy anymore.

Do we celebrate this ex-monarch’s natal anniversary because Canadians are great traditionalists and we still carry a torch for the Old Vic? After all, it was under her watchful, un-amused gaze that we started on the road to independence.

No, it is because we are terrified of her.

Those of you lucky enough to be born in Republics will never know the terror of falling asleep, worried not about the Boogity Man, or other non-existent creatures, but fearful of the dreaded Queen Victoria creeping into our rooms to deprive us of love, joy and perhaps even our very lives.

A history of worrying eugenics

Like many Royal families in Europe, the House of Hanover once suffered from inbreeding, but through an ad hoc eugenics program, they were able to instill their bloodlines with enough vigor to run roughshod over the United Kingdom.

Their secret? Carpathian werewolves.

It began, of course with Sophia of Hanover, who was quite a looker, but who had a taste for the exotic and enjoyed it a bit rough. Carpathian werewolves were brought in to satisfy her proclivities and produced George I, who became the first Hanoverian to rule Great Britain. Carpathian werewolf tendencies were noticed in George II, but it wasn’t until George III went howlingly mad were people convinced that there was a problem with this eugenics program.

16th century woodcut of a Carpathian werewolf

George IV was an indifferent king, and William IV did little damage. However, neither were to produce an heir, and it was up to George III’s fourth son, The Duke of Kent, to produce a new ruler. He did so with the help of Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Even at the time, there were rumors that the Princess had an extra-marital affair, and the lack of genetic weaknesses in Victoria’s children has been used as evidence.

Of course, we need look no further than the Princess’s diary, dated August 28, 1819 (roughly nine months before Victoria’s birthday) and we can learn the truth: “Did it with that animal again.” Was it another Carpathian werewolf? We can only assume, “yes.”

And so Victoria was the result of an accidental eugenics programs, filling her with the vigor, bloodlust and terrifying hunger of the Bane of Carpathia. To this day, she is known for the coldness of her presence, her ability to suck the very joy right out of the room, her insatiable desire for human flesh.

Here in the colonies we are still terrified of her, and so we ingratiate ourselves with her hairy be-clawed shadow by celebrating her birthday. (Because even if she was “laid to rest” in 1901, we all know she is not gone.)

Luckily, Carpathian werewolves are also put off by large amounts of alcohol and loud banging noises, so in Canada we have incorporated excessive drinking and fireworks in the holiday, just to be on the safe side.

So it worked out okay.

See also: 10 incredibly true facts about Queen Victoria

You know what really scares me more than Carpathian werewolves? Lots of humorists.

Colonel Sanders Crosses the Delaware

Great Moments in History (Vol. 1)

Little-known to most historians, “Colonel” Harland Sanders crossed the Delaware on December 25, 1776, just after George Washington’s boat. For his help in feeding the troops and giving free soda refills during the brutal winter of 1776 he was made an “Honorary Colonel”. After the war, the Second Continental Congress [note] awarded him the first fried chicken franchise in the new colonies.

[note:] Of course, the war didn’t actually end until the Treaty of Paris, but Sanders was awarded his honorary title DURING the 2nd Continental Congress. His promotion came after the disastrous winter of 1776, most likely in that July, before they signed the Declaration of Independence. (Incidentally, this happened in Philadelphia, where they shunned their traditional mode of serving steak for a chicken-fried version of the dish, to celebrate Sanders, and the birth of a nation devoted to freedom and saturated fats.)

The rest, as they say, is crave-it-fortnightly history.

Alltop knows some of the herbs and none of the spices. The original oil painting was done by Emanuel Leutze in 1851.